Why does calorie restriction reduce the rate of aging?

Will Dye willdye at helios.unl.edu
Mon Aug 24 19:57:00 EST 1992


rbradbur at hardy.u.washington.edu (Robert Bradbury) writes:

>... Holliday and others have pointed
>out that this could be a general adaptive mechanism in many species
>because of its evolutionary advantages.  When food is scarce, reproduction
>is not a particularly good idea.  Instead an organism would have a
>selective advantage if it could put the resources which would normally
>go into reproduction into preserving the organism until such time as
>times got better and food resources would allow better offspring survival.

I'm begging to be flamed for this, since I'm a decidedly AMATUER scientist, 
but here goes...  My skeptical side gets triggered whenever I hear 
arguments about evolutionary advantages, primarily because they tend to 
explain old data, rather than predict.  It's kind of like ecomonics; 
EVERY economist can tell you why the stock market was up or down
in the past, but if they're so smart, why can only a FEW economists 
predict the stock market's future?  

Just so, we can say the peacock has an evolutionary advantage for all 
those plumes (to get sex), but the falcon needs precise engineering 
on each feather (to get food).  I'm NOT saying it isn't true, but it 
just seems too convenient to grab any of umpteen different 'advantages' 
to explain whatever it is we just saw.  If caloric EXCESS led to longer 
lifespans, would we not say this is because of evolutionary advantage? 
Lots of food means a successful critter, so they live longer and mate 
more to make more successful critters in that environment.  Yeah, 
yeah, you can think of a reason why that might not work.  But you can 
also think of a reason why the opposite might not work (try!).  
That's my point.  It just seems sloppy.  

Moving on...  I know this is an FAQ, but what is a good source for 
non-technical info on the calorie-restricted diet?  I'm 6'3" and 
have a strong set-point of 225, but I'd like to try one of those 
CR diets or anti-oxidizing vitamin regimins, if it doesn't require 
eating tofu and yogurt the rest of my life.  

--Will




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